August 15, 2010

To Live is Christ — being expected

Reading through a devotional book that has one selection for each day of the year has value, but reading the same selection for several days reveals more of the richness of God’s Word.

Today’s devotional is about Abraham’s servant again. This man was sent to find a wife for Isaac. He had to travel 450 miles into a place he’d never been to find a family he did not know. When he neared the location, he asked God to direct him to the right woman and God did. Then he said, 

Blessed be God, God of my master Abraham: How generous and true you’ve been to my master; you’ve held nothing back. You led me right to the door of my master’s brother! (Genesis 24:27, The Message)
At the end of this devotional reading is the following prayer. It is simple, with three points.
Dear Lord, I want to follow Your path. Direct me. I want to stay on Your path. Correct me. I will bring others to Your path. Expect me. Amen.
I’ve prayed often for God’s direction. I’ve also prayed often for God’s correction. He has answered both prayers — often. It is the last point in this prayer that catches my attention today: I will bring others to Your path. Expect me.

I’ve never promised God that I would bring others to His path. I can try, but know that no one can come to Christ unless the Father draws him (John 6:44). I can do whatever I need to do, but their decision to walk with Jesus is not up to me. However, those words “Expect me” have rich connotations.

When Abraham’s servant was given his instructions, God knew that he would obey. He expected him to show up at the house of Abraham’s brothers. He prepared the heart of Isaac’s future wife to do exactly what the servant prayed to God that the woman of His choice would do. God then waited for this man to show up.

When God sent Jesus to this earth, He expected Jesus to obey Him. He expected that His angry enemies would kill Him. In a sermon after the resurrection, Peter said to the crowds about Christ, “. . . Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death” (Acts 2:23, italics mine). God knew and expected the death of His Son. He even planned it.

From this, I am thinking that every time God asks me to do something, He expects me to obey. He waits for it, plans that my obedience will have an impact in some way on me and others. He expects me to follow the directions He gives me and expects me to show up where He sends me. This is His determined purpose.

What if I don’t? If the servant disobeyed, would Isaac eventually have married this woman anyway? I doubt it. If Jesus had not come, was there another plan for my salvation? I don’t think so. Will He get someone else to do whatever I refuse to do, somehow who will fill the gaps of my selfish rebellion and sinful neglect? Does God have a plan B? I don’t think so, but even if He does, it seems far wiser to go for plan A and live up to His expectations.

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